Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a rare and potentially life-threatening illness that is caused by an infection from certain types of bacteria, including staphylococcus aureus.


Menstruating women are at a higher risk of getting TSS, as naturally occurring vaginal bacteria can over grow in the presence of a blood-soaked tampon that is left in for too long. Tampons stick to the vaginal wall, especially when blood flow is light, causing tiny cuts when they are removed.


When an overgrowth occurs, the bacteria makes large amounts of the TSS toxin, which enters the blood stream. This can cause an array of symptoms such as:


– fever

– vomiting

– diarrhoea

– a skin rash that looks like sunburn

– peeling patches of skin on the feet and hands

– muscular aches

– headaches

– a sore throat

– red eyes

– confusion

– a drop in blood pressure

– joint pains

– sensitivity to light

– kidney failure


How can you reduce the chances of TSS?


– Use organic tampons – that do not contain bleaches, pesticides and other chemicals that disrupt our vaginal bacteria and damage our delicate mucous membranes

– Consider using a mooncup

– Change tampons regularly (at least every four hours)

– Avoid using super-absorbent tampons

– Only unwrap the tampon if you are going to use it immediately

– Do not handle the tampon more than you need to

– Wash your hands thoroughly before and after inserting the tampon

– Be gentle when inserting and removing tampons

– Avoid applicator tampons, as the applicator may scrape the vaginal walls

– Use pads (sanitary napkins) instead of tampons overnight

– Maintain personal hygiene during your period

– Do not wear tampons when you do not have your period

– Consider using pads or panty liners during the last day or so of your period when your flow is light

– Use a lubricating jelly when inserting tampons in the last day or so of your period when your flow is light




Reference: Better Health Victoria

Image: Tom Organics